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Do airlines that continue to offer first class really need the best business class?
I was reading Daniel’s trip report from DXB-MUC in LH C class and noticed he said “The business class cabin itself is in a not-too-groundbreaking 2-2-2 configuration.” Which makes me think, if an airline is committed to provide first class into the future do they really need a state of the art business class with direct aisle access and first class quality food? I say no.
While many US airlines are moving away from international first class (with only AA being committed to having it in the 77W, but who know for how much longer). LH has a sufficient business class for just that, business class which is intended to be a class between economy and first class, nicer seat, and better food and drink than economy. Many gulf carriers have worse business classes than their US counterparts because they are committed to having first class be something better than business class.
If you would like direct aisle access on LH you can have it if you pay for first class. I know LH is planning a new business class for the 77W, but I would not expect it to be the best in the world. LH is getting rid of F on many of their planes, but my understanding is that they are routes where F was not usually full, so although there was an option for a direct aisle access seat, most people decided it was not worth the premium.
Ben, I would love to hear your opinion as you are flying more and more business class trips than first class trips.
They don’t need the “best” business class but they need to be competitive. My understanding is that most people who travel J are flying under corporate policies that generally won’t allow for first class travel. So they are going to compare J cabins across airlines not J vs. F. If an airline’s product is not competitive it’s going to have to compete on price a la BA.